Bill CooperIn 1983, Bill Cooper, professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at UC Irvine, first encountered- and was mesmerized by- the butterflies of Iguazú Falls. Since then, he has taken over 15,000 pictures and videos of these butterflies, photographically preserving them for future generations. This stunning show will be on display February 7, 2014 through March 2014 in the Doy and Dee Henley Reading Room, 2nd floor, Leatherby Libraries.

Cooper will kick off the exhibit with a lecture and book-signing- and we hope you’ll join us!
Friday, February 7th, 2014
4:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Doy and Dee Henley Reading Room, Leatherby Libraries, Second Floor
Chapman University, Orange

View pictures of the event here


Bill Cooper’s Story – In His Own Words

How His Journey Began: 

In 1983, I was an Associate Research Professor in the Drinking Water Research Center of Florida International University and I was invited to give a lecture on renewable energy at a conference in Buenos Aires, Argentina. In hindsight, I never anticipated the potential importance of that lecture, on alternative energy resources, or, that I would return 25 years later to visit one of the most spectacular places on earth, Iguazú Falls. My graduate student José Lopez, from Argentina accompanied me for several reasons. First, I did not know Spanish so he volunteered to be my translator and second, to be my guide. 

During that first trip to Argentina, we visited and lectured at several Universities around the country. Towards the end of visit, we were invited to give a lecture at the University of Misiones which is in the far northern part of Argentina. After the lecture José and I drove to Iguazú Falls, and ventured onto the trails that eventually led to the Falls of Iguazú. Within minutes of being on the trail a butterfly with the common name, Ochenta y Ocho, 88, landed on my wrist and I made up my mind that someday I had to return to photograph the abundant butterflies of Iguazú Falls.

Fast Forward to 2008:

After having helped organize and participated in the 2008 International Water Conference at the University of California, Irvine, I decided that it was time to take a vacation and pursue my dream of photographing butterflies in Argentina. I made reservations at the Iguazú Sheraton and over the course of five days was able to take 5,600 photographs of 99 species of butterflies. It took an additional 12 days of working nearly 10 hours a day to name them and to organize the photographs on my computer.

Although 99 species is rather an amazing diversity of butterflies in one area, it’s thought that nearly 400 species abound in the region. That first trip resulted in the book “The Butterflies of Iguazú Falls, Argentina.” I have now returned to the Falls on two occasions and have nearly 15,000 photographs and now videos of approximately 170 species.

Preserving Biodiversity for Future Generations:

This book is also the first in a series dedicated to my grandchildren Ben and Lilly Cooper. It is my dream that through this book and others to follow, they will see through Grandpa’s eyes the beauty of the world around us. Another reason for initiating the series is to photographically preserve the biodiversity that abounds around us today, as I fear drastic changes in the world’s ecosystems, with the world’s population proceeding unabated and climate change griping the planet.